Archive for March, 2008

Just so tired of all the talking heads…

I am just so tired of the talking heads, where have all of the reporters gone?  Every time you turn on the cable news channels or the network news shows, there is another talking head shouting out their opinion of the day’s events on a 30 minute repeat cycle.  Where is the research?  Where is the insight?  Where is the investigation that will lead us to this conclusion?  Instead we listen to hour after hour of the same story spun over and over without one iota of research, insight, or investigation.  What has brought us to this?  Who is to blame?

Is it the news stations that have cut budgets and forced hourly deadlines on their reporters, making newsworthy journalism impossible (Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism provides some great insight into this topic)?  Is it the reporters who have found it easier to not question authority or prefer the ease of gathering opinions over facts?  Or is it us, the audience?  We want to feel like we are informed but we prefer to get our information in 30 minutes or less so that we can get back to the important task of following who will win the next American Idol?

If the political pundits weren’t bad enough… the only thing worse is the financial pundits!  Case in point the last couple of weeks was Jim Cramer of Mad Money on CNBC.  After an email question from one “Peter” – Mr. Kramer mistakenly told his audience that “No, No, No, Bear Sterns is fine… don’t move your money from Bear that’s just being silly.”  Having spent a few years in the industry, I have seen this a few times but one of the best examples was the hedge fund LTCM (Long Term Capital Management) that in 1998 lost $4.6b in less than four months (a great book for the record is When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein).  Mr. Cramer, you are just another talking head and you seemed to have robbed from Peter to pay Paul!  Your audience looks to you for investment advice and you weren’t willing to research the issue and make the tough call.  Instead you worried about a run on the bank and left your audience high dry with their worthless Bear Sterns stock.  Now that your audience knows where you stand, I would imagine your advertisers might be researching their investment and we will soon find you sitting high and dry.

 

Fluff and spin might work for my dryer but not for my news.  Where do you get your news?

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Dinner with Obama

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Also, check out the new Obama Girl video.

As the Caissons Go Rolling

In the Civil War, caissons were used to bring artillery and ammunition to the front lines.  After the battle, with a morbid dual-purpose, they were used to move the dead soldiers.  

Yesterday, a roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000.

Five years hence, why are the caissons still rolling?  Read this interesting prespective from David Brooks on the News Hour (relayed through Eric Black):

JIM LEHRER: Finally, your thoughts, five years of the Iraq war, what are you thinking about right now, David…

DAVID BROOKS:
Well…

LEHRER:
… about the war and the rest? What needs to be said about it? Let’s put it that way.

BROOKS:
Well, it’s been a searing experience for the country and for a lot of us. I would say it’s changed my view of the world quite dramatically, as I look back.

And I think what I knew, but didn’t practice, was the sense that societies are complex, organic organism, more complex than we can possibly understand. And if you’re going to intervene…

LEHRER:
You mean other societies than our own?

BROOKS: Ours, too. Ours, too.

LEHRER: Oh, OK.

BROOKS:
And if you’re going to intervene in a society, you have to respect the complexity and respect your own ignorance of that complexity. And that’s something every conservative should really know. But sometimes those facts were held in abeyance in the enthusiasm of the moment.

Reconciliation

It has been many moons since Dave K. wrote a post for Broken Spines (like Bret Michaels, he’s gone solo with his own blog).

But, over lunch the other day, Dave was telling us about his spring break trip to New Orleans.  He and a bunch of high school students volunteered and helped build houses for Habitat for Humanity.  He was clearly moved by the experience.  And, as he was describing the experience it occured to me that even though our government may have failed New Orleans, Americans like Dave have not. 

In spite of all that is wrong with our government (endless war) and economy (Bear Sterns) it is acts of selflessness and kindness like Dave’s that remind me what a great country we live in.

Here are a couple of Dave’s photos that I really like:

abundance.jpg

I couldn’t help but come up with some titles: catawumpus (I had to look up the spelling)

hammers.jpg

e pluribus unum

Richardson Endorses Obama

If ever there was a Clintonista, I thought it would be Richardson.  But, today in Oregon, Richardson endorsed Obama. Richardson said “I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world.”  He went on to say that he believes in “Obama’s unique moral ability to inspire the American people to confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad in a spirit of bipartisanship and reconciliation.”

His endorsement couldn’t have come at a better time.  As a former candidate and superdelegate, Richardson will help reassure many party faithful that Obama is ready and qualified to lead.

Separately, I came across this hilarious t-shirt:

assman.gif

In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

Bob Beckel, who managed Walter Mondale’s campaign (which came up with the 3am phone call idea), writes persuasively about the Obama campaign.  Here is his reaction to Obama’s speech in Philidelphia yesterday:

Obama’s speech in Philly yesterday on race, and specifically the Wright issue, was one of the most compelling I have heard in over 30 years in politics. It was direct with no attempt at evasion. It was emotional yet straight forward. Where most politicians would have abandoned a supporter like Jeremiah Wright and the community he served, Obama, while strongly criticizing him, but did not throw his friend overboard. It was, in my view, one of the best, if not the best, transformative speech on race and politics ever given.

Read the text of the speech here.

Lip Bite Index

The Colbert Report has come out with a line of Spitzer greeting cards great for any occasion (even Flag Day)!

 http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertreport/videos.jhtml?videoId=163796


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